Over the past week, the general belief has been that the Nets would want to move Kevin Durant first, then Kyrie Irving, but on NBA Today Wednesday, Adrian Wojnarowski suggested that the Spurs could provide the Nets and Lakers some help in getting a deal done.
It was part of an ESPN mid-afternoon marathon. Brian Windhorst also reported the Nets are “not thrilled” with the offers they’ve received so far for Durant and that the league knows that KD wants the Phoenix Suns. Still, Woj held out some hope for Nets fans that “people change the mind, change course,” referring to Durant’s trade request.
“I think that’s another consideration Brooklyn has to make about whether it’s a positive or negative to move Kyrie Irving either before Kevin Durant or after Kevin Durant,” Woj said regarding an Irving trade on NBA Today. “The market is certainly very different for Kevin Durant than it is for Kyrie Irving.
“The Nets have talked with the Lakers and I believe there has been back-and-forth, some communication. You look at where there’s cap space right now and a team like San Antonio could be a facilitator right now in let’s say a Russell Westbrook for Kyrie Irving deal between the teams. They have the cap space. Now, you have to incentivize them at a pretty high level and I think that’s the willingness of the Lakers to incentivize a deal with multiple draft picks. I think that’s part of the reason that the deal hasn’t gone anywhere yet.”
“That could always change,” he continued. “Rob Pelinka and Sean Marks are in Vegas this week and moving forward. I’m sure they’ll have conversations there, but I do think that is part of the equation for Brooklyn is again, is it ... do they handle the Kevin Durant deal first and then revisit this? Then, there’s the Lakers’ motivation. They’ve looked at other deals. They continued, I know, to check in on Eric Gordon in Houston. That’s certainly a player that interests them. Buddy Hield in Indiana ... the Lakers certainly are looking out at the marketplace but there’s no question Kyrie Irving is one of them.”
Woj didn’t get into specifics, but it seems like he’s suggesting that Westbrook and his $47.1 million expiring contract would wind up in San Antonio and Irving and his $36.5 million expiring contract would wind up in Los Angeles. The Spurs are in a deep rebuild after sending out two of their best players, Dejounte Murray and Lonnie Walker IV. What the Nets would receive was left unsaid.
Earlier on NBA Today, Woj and Windhorst spoke about how the Nets have yet to see a deal they like for Durant with Woj even suggesting that things could change between now and late September. Asked by Malika Andrews if there was a chance that KD could be on the Nets training camp at the end of September, Woj said it’s possible.
“Absolutely, especially if this drags out and there’s not a deal found in the next month and it gets into August and training camp. They don’t have to take a deal they don’t want to do. They don’t have to talk themselves into a deal but at same time, Kevin Durant, he looks at the situation. Could he look at it differently over time. That’s certainly a possibility.
“And I think if you’re Kevin Durant and you start to look at the teams you might want to land at and what those teams might look like after they have to unload so many assets. I think that’s why there’s no rush in this process and I think that perhaps there will be a time where there’s better communication going on between Kevin Durant and Brooklyn and Kevin Durant and maybe that could impact the idea of him returning but nobody’s counting on it.
“I think all sides are proceeding as if Durant will be traded at some point, but because of the years left on his contract — four years on this contract — the fact that this is the off-season, things can change, they can evolve, no question,” noted Woj.
“Maybe the Nets go to Durant with a trade and and tell him here is a trade we are about to do, and he looks at and says maybe I’d like to stay here. Now he doesn’t have say. Brooklyn could go forward with it I think there are a lot of scenarios where Kevin Durant gets moved, but yes, there are scenarios where he could stay because people do change their minds. They do change their minds, change course.
“The fact is he is under contract and they still have a very talented, deep team in Brooklyn that when you look at it up against other teams in the league should be with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving playing at a high level should believe they can play with anybody.”
Windhorst in his segment with Kendrick Perkins, noted that the Nets are not happy with the offers they have received and suggested talks are at the beginning stage not the end stage.
“From what I understand, I don’t think the Nets are thrilled with the others they have gotten for Durant yet,” said Windhorst. “I don’t think that that’s a hot take considering that they’re reassessing with where they’re at. I think the reason is this: It’s somewhat known in the NBA that Durant prefers going to the Phoenix Suns and the Suns offer, what they have to offer right now just isn’t that interesting to Brooklyn. Brooklyn is interested in other things. That’s why Woj and others talking about needing a third or fourth team in a deal.
“So if you’re a team like the Raptors, for example, who we’ve heard about, who has interest and who has had some discussions with Brooklyn, the bar that you have to clear isn’t the Nets expectations, it’s what the offer is from the Suns. So, I don’t think that the premium offers that I think a lot of us in the media have sometimes jump to like ‘Team A could offer the Nets this and we list like four or five beautiful players and assets, swaps and picks and everything. They don’t often come out of the gate like that.”
Instead, said Windhorst, it’s much more complicated dance with the early offers unlikely to be anything close to what the other side, in this case, the Nets, wants. He said said that process often takes a while.
“There are two things we often see,” he told Andrews. “One, they tend to take time. They sometimes don’t happen in the first week of July especially when the trade demand comes late and secondly, they often aren’t for the haul that we often soon at the start.”
Specifically, Windhorst talked about a potential Raptors package for Durant ... and the degree of difficulty associated with it.
“Especially, as this pertains to the Raptors, I would refer you to the Kawhi Leonard trade back in 2018. The Raptors and Masai Ujiri, their team president, basically outlasted the market on that. Their offer, while it did have DeMar DeRozan in it, an excellent player, their offer that the Spurs ultimately took was lower than we thought would come for Kawhi Leonard. So it wouldn’t surprise me if Masai Ujiri sticks to that same formula and tries to wait the Nets out and that’s what we’re in right now, the waiting.”
Kendrick Perkins agreed, saying that it may not be posturing, that teams are valuing their young stars more than Durant.
“The league and a lot of GMs are valuing these young upcoming stars that they have. We are talking about KEVIN DURANT, it is very interesting to me and a wake up call.” he said, referring to reports that Scottie Barnes may be off the table at the moment. “The fact that Masai is saying Scottie Barnes is not in this trade package speaks volumes to me.”
Perkins said as well that while there is no deadline and the Nets are suggesting they could wait things out, teams and players are starting workouts and bonding right now.
Marc Stein also noted that the Nets demands remain high.
Brooklyn privately maintains that it won’t trade Durant unless it gets a package in return that starts with a blue-chipper like New Orleans’ Brandon Ingram or Toronto’s Scottie Barnes … along with lots more attached to a theoretical deal than the absolute hauls San Antonio and Utah received in exchange for Murray and Gobert.
That means you might have to replenish your Snickers supply, because we could be here a while.
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